KK Null Oxygen Flash

[Neurot; 2009]

Styles: harsh, Japanese noise
Others: Zeni Geva, Merzbow, John Wiese

With photosensitive epilepsy, anything from flashing lights to moving patterns can cause a seizure. Seizures used to frighten me in a big way. I never understood, never grasped what the mind was doing while seizures occurred. To this day I wonder what exactly the photosensitive epileptic experiences as they succumb to the convulsions. So far, the closest estimation I’ve found is the new work of Japanese noise everyman Kazuyuki Kishino, known to his fans as KK Null.

While you could say that all of KK Null’s oeuvre has a certain seizure-like quality to it, Oxygen Flash is vastly different, when you consider how tonal the album is; you could hum nearly every noise on here. Even beyond that, it’s a seizing beast, never once slowing down, never once opening up for an extended, say, drone passage, never exposing a blip, chirp, or squeal for any longer than a split second. Yeah, the album gets quiet, and yeah, the album has parts that appear slower than the parts before it. But when repeated listens afford one the opportunity to see this shaking and shivering machine from all angles, one begins to notice that it has an oddly sputtering, jittery quality to it, oscillating and skipping up and down tonal patterns and going going going faster and faster never once lettinguptoslowdown…

While the bottomless pit of KK Null’s catalog offers stronger releases, Oxygen Flash possesses a quality unlike any of them. It’s no surprise that it bends and dips and curves through the harsh, stuttering static; nor is it a surprise how powerful, meditative, and monolithic each passage can be; nor that its cathartic end leaves your face tingling, your ears ringing, and your mind racing. What is surprising, though, is how musical and, in its own bizarre way, accessible this noise album is. Each track has a certain song structure that is difficult to explain in musical terms. Both the first and second track begin in a bouncing, waving fashion, panning across headphones, excess noise starting to stick against the cleaner surfaces, distorting the sound — then backing off, restating the original phrase, adding more sounds, and continuing the pattern and exchange with a different lexicon of noises. Oxygen Flash even has a pacing that few pop albums possess. Still, there is a frightening element to the record, a sobering album of electronic dissonance: a robot’s seizure.

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Links: KK Null - Neurot

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